Academic journal article Proceedings of the Annual Meeting-American Society of International Law

Plenary: Legal Advisers' Roundtable

Academic journal article Proceedings of the Annual Meeting-American Society of International Law

Plenary: Legal Advisers' Roundtable

Article excerpt

The panel was convened at 2:45 p.m., Friday, April 11, by its moderator, Larry D. Johnson of the United Nations, who introduced the panelists: Todd Buchwald of the U.S. Department of State; Maria del Lujan Flores of the Permanent Mission of Uruguay to the Organization of American States; Allieu Ibrahim Kanu of the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations; Edward Kwakwa of the World Intellectual Property Organization; Juan Antonio Yanez-Barnuevo of the Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations; and Liu Zhenmin of the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations. *

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS BY LARRY D. JOHNSON ([dagger])

Welcome to the Legal Advisers' Roundtable. I am very honored to be moderating a panel with such distinguished members. Let me first indicate that everything we say here is in our personal capacity and not official. Rather than have formal presentations, I will be posing a number of questions to the panelists and will be assigning who will be answering them. After that, we will open it up for questions and answers. Let me briefly introduce the panelists. Todd Buchwald is the Assistant Legal Adviser for United Nations Affairs for the U.S. State Department and has been in that position since 2004. He previously served as the State Department's Assistant Legal Adviser for European and Canadian Affairs. Before joining State, he was an Associate at Wilmer, Cutler, and Picketing, and is a graduate of Cornell and Yale Law School. We also have Ambassador Maria del Lujan Flores, Doctor of Law and Social Sciences and Diplomacy. She is presently the Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the Organization of American States (OAS) here in Washington. She has been teaching public international law and human rights at the University of Uruguay and was the Legal Adviser for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ambassador Allieu Ibrahim Kanu is currently Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations and has been in that capacity for ten years. He has led negotiations with the United Nations on the establishment of the Sierra Leone Special Court and is also very active in the African Group and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOW AS) meetings in New York. We also have my colleague, Edward Kwakwa, working in an intergovernmental organization. He is the legal counsel of WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization. Prior to that, he was in the World Trade Organization and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He also practiced law here in D.C. at O'Melveny & Myers LLP and has served on the ASIL Executive Council for a number of years. From China, we have Ambassador Liu Zhenmin who has received his LL.M. from the Law School of Peking University. He began as a legal officer in the Department of Treaty and Law and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing and then moved between various postings between the legal office in Beijing and postings in Geneva and other locations. He was promoted to Director General of the Department of Treaty and Law in 2003. Since 2006, he has been the Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations and has been very active in Security Council and Legal affairs. Finally, we have Juan Antonio Yanez-Barnuevo from Spain, who has had a long and distinguished career in international legal matters. In fact, he attended the Vienna Conference on the Law of Treaties and, since then, many codification conferences. He was Legal Adviser of his foreign ministry for several years, the Representative of Spain on the Security Council in the nineties when the two ad hoc criminal tribunals were established, and was very active in the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

I would like to begin by posing some questions, divided into three categories: procedural, thematic, and topical. The first will be to Ambassadors Yanez-Barnuevo and Kanu: what should a legal adviser do if a policymaker perceives that an international law is a problem or obstacle in carrying out the desired policy, and attempts to overrule him/her? …

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